I stopped writing about my grief for a while. Some of the initial abandon with which I was willing to talk about my struggles faded and I was left with the sense that as time went on I was falling behind and hanging on too tight. Like the supportive group they are, Hope for Widows understood, and here I am trying to trust again. Perhaps it will help someone else know that they are not alone.
It’s been a little over a year since my husband Keith passed away. I miss him. I want to talk about him. I still lament our shared dreams that didn’t get to come to fruition and yet I’m trying to come up with some new goals and plans. They don’t feel as special, but I’m smiling a little more, and I know progress counts, even if I feel like I’m a slow mover.
I finally understand why the Bible has so many references to caring for widows. It’s a hard road to walk. From the huge issues you now face on your own, to the little acts of killing spiders and paying bills, and all the nights not sleeping in their warm embrace. It can make you weary.
I was watching the tv show the Mentalist a few months ago and the character Patrick Jayne was chatting with a newly widowed woman about the investigation. She suddenly cuts him off and says “Would you hold me?”
He looks at her for a moment and replies “I can’t” . Although his response stemmed out of professionalism and other factors, his words and the situation lingered with me because they have so often felt true for me. No matter how much I’ve wanted someone to help me and fix things, I’ve learned that others can only do so much. Don’t get me wrong, the listening ear and hug of a friend is invaluable, and like many I need that support to survive. Yet I’ve discovered that at the beginning and end of the day, it is just you and God. No one else can do the work and battle with the questions and the fears and inner swirling for you. Which is awful in a lot of ways, especially when the one person who you need to hold you is the one you’re grieving the loss of.
There is hope though, as this organization so proudly claims. I don’t always see it, and some days I don’t feel it, but other days it is like warm sunshine on bare skin. In those moments, I’m able to see some progress. Every day I find new ways to address my fears. Voicing them to friends, prayer, and chocolate are top ones, as is cuddling with my dogs and riding my horse. Sometimes it’s swinging my rope and sometimes sleeping in a pair of his boxers, or seeing a random tree frog or something that jars a memory.
Other times it’s running my fingers over the inked picture on my skin and being thankful for the difference in texture where the tattoo is, a spot he would kiss,, a mark saying my skin, my heart, me–will never be the same.
So here’s to the other widows who are finding ways to deal with the new daily. And the next time I wish he was here to hold me, or that someone could wave a magic wand that would alter the situation, I’m going to remember the words of a community leader when I was in college. He was talking about watching family members struggle and said he believed we had to close our eyes and visualize them being held in the arms of God. Let him hold them, cause he could do it far better than us. Then perhaps, I can move to letting God hold me, and trusting that as the famous unattributed quote goes that my grandfather had written in his bible, “There are things about tomorrow that I do not understand, but I know who molds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”